Tag Archives: Heaven

No Sweat

12 Aug

Jodi Whisenhunt wrote a post titled “You Know It’s Too Hot When…” for The Christian Post (8-1-12). Her “You know…” thoughts made me LOL on a very hot day in August.

You know it’s too hot when…

1 ) You fry your morning eggs on the front walk.
2 ) Your neighbor brings over cookies she baked in her car.
3 ) Your swimming pool turns into a hot tub.
4 ) Your hot tub is bubbling and it’s not turned on.
5 ) Your aerosol sunscreen shoots flames.
6 ) Your dog sheds her coat bald when she steps outside.
7 ) You drop two pounds in perspiration just by walking out the door.
8 ) You get a second degree burn when you touch the handle of your car door.
9 ) The hummingbirds are fanning the squirrels.
10 ) The ice cream truck melts.

OK… maybe it’s not quite that hot. But I’m sweating, and I’m not a sweaty person.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “No sweat”? No sweat can mean no trouble, no difficulty, or even “Don’t worry; it’s a done deal.” As I languished in the heat, the thought suddenly occurred to me that there is at least one thing in life where I can honestly say, “No sweat.”

Death? No sweat.

This may seem like a strange topic for an LOL with God post, but hang with me.

The Proverbs 31 woman could “laugh at days to come” because she was “clothed with strength and dignity” (31:25). Although the process of dying may be painful and difficult, there is a kind of joy ~ a sense in which we can laugh at death, knowing we will overcome it in Christ! We can clothe ourselves in strength and dignity, even in our last days.

Many people are afraid of death ~ “sweating out” the end of their lives. If this describes you (you are afraid of death or dying), let me encourage you today with the Word of God. The Word makes a world of difference. I have a friend who lived in fear of death for many years, but as she began to read and embrace the truth of scripture concerning her end of days, she found peace and hope.

I can honestly say, when it comes to my eternal destination, “No sweat ~ It’s a done deal.” Not because of any good I’ve done, but because of the rich, undeserved love of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 3:16-18) . Because He gave me eternal life in His Son and made me His child (John 17:3; 1 John 3:2; 5:13).

The grave is not the end! The believer knows that death is as simple as “falling asleep” on earth and awakening with God where we will live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 17).

Jesus came to free us from the fear of dying ~ the “sting” and power of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-55; Hebrews 2:14-15) ~ but also from death itself (eternal death).  Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die….” (John 11:25-26). We will be united with Jesus in His resurrection (Romans 6:5).

Though there may be a season of suffering before death, because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have true hope for our future (1 Peter 1:3-6; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18). We can face death with confidence and courage. We already have “citizenship” in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we will be welcome there. I can rest in God’s love both now and forever. One of the joys of heaven is that death will be “swallowed up” forever as God wipes away all sorrow and tears (Isaiah 25:8; Rev. 7:17; 21:4).

One of the struggles I’ve always had concerning death is my fears for those I might leave behind. But God even has an answer for that. He is “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5) and we can hand over our fears, worries, and anxieties for our loved ones to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He loves them even more than we do, and will not forsake them.

Do I want to die? Yes and no. I understand Paul’s pull toward heaven, even while deeply involved in ministry and love for the people in this life (Philippians 1:21-25). I want to go home to heaven, but I am so attached to friends and family here. The truth is, whether on earth or in heaven, I belong to the Lord and live for His purposes (Romans 14:8); and it’s my job to figure out the works God has prepared for me to do before He calls me home (Ephesians 2:10).

But death itself? No sweat … I am secure and satisfied in the One who loves me, redeemed me, and has eternal plans for my life.

Can you say “No sweat!” as you look toward the end of your days? Can you laugh at your future, knowing you are safe with God? Or do you still have some concerns? Do you know someone who faced death with incredible peace and hope? I’d love to hear your story.

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Only in America

1 Jul

I read some funny “Only in America” quotes on a political joke archive:

  • Only in America. This country is so accommodating. There are handicapped parking places everywhere, even in front of a skating rink.
  • Only in America… do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet Coke.
  • Only in America… do we buy ourselves answering machines to screen calls, and then have ‘call waiting’ so we won’t miss a call from someone we didn’t want to converse with in the first place.
  • Only in America… do we have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.
  • Only in America… do banks leave both doors to the vault open, and then chain the pens to the counters.
  • Only in America… do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten, and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America … but I’d rather be in America than any country on earth.

Travel anywhere in the world … see the beautiful sites and interesting cultures … and you’ll still get a lump in your throat as you return home.

Home

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through,” says the old Gospel song. Yes, heaven is my true home (John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9; Philippians 1:21-23; 3:20-21), but as long as I’m alive on this earth, America will always be special. I love to sing “God bless America, my home sweet home….”

Only in America …

As I’ve been thinking about that phrase all week, my mind focused on “The Four Freedoms.”

An engraving on a wall at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, DC, bears the four freedoms we celebrate in our country.*

President Roosevelt articulated these goals in 1941 in his January 6 State of the Union Address, proposing four fundamental freedoms that he thought people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy. By stating these freedoms, he went beyond the US Constitution’s values ~ the first two freedoms protected by the First Amendment ~ to include values he felt were important to human security.

Roosevelt envisioned a world where freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want (economic understandings and security), and freedom from fear (which in his mind translated into worldwide reduction of armaments).  “That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb,” Franklin said.

Roosevelt’s speech was later represented by artist Norman Rockwell in his series ofFour Freedoms paintings, published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943.

I thought about these four freedoms and how they relate to scriptural truth.I believe that it is the Truth of God’s Word that brings the freedom our hearts crave.

First, let me say that there are no guarantees of any of these freedoms in this sin-corrupted world. Humans sometimes have the nasty habit of being nasty to each other and robbing each other of the dignity and beauty God created us to bear as well as the good gifts He provides.

Roosevelt expressed some guiding principles for peace as the world seemed to crumble in the 1940s. But long before this, God gave us His Word to show us how we could realize the deepest desires of our hearts ~ including the desire for freedom. True freedom is never freedom from God; it is freedom found in God.

Freedom of Speech and Expression ~ God created us with the ability to speak and express ourselves. He didn’t want silent puppets. He wanted people who can talk to Him (our part in prayer). He wanted us to express our hearts and thoughts to Him, and God wants to interact with us. He wants us to listen, too. Imagine the freedom of sweet communication with Him and with others in the family of God.

Freedom of Worship ~ God created us to worship Him. Yes, we were designed for worship. We will all worship something or someone. God is the only one, however, who deserves our worship and praise. Imagine the freedom of perfect worship before the Creator who loves you and delights in you.

Freedom from Want ~ God created mankind to enjoy Him in the Garden of Eden, and He provided all that the first man and woman needed (food, a perfect environment,  companionship, meaningful work, etc.), and God is still our Ultimate Provider Imagine the freedom of walking with God, knowing all your needs are met. 

Freedom from Fear ~ God did not create us to fear. The scriptures tell us that perfect love casts out fear, and God created us to know His perfect love. He sent His Son to show us how much He loves us. He asks us to cast all our anxieties on Him ~ all our worries and fears, because He cares about us. Imagine the freedom of childlike trust and complete freedom from all fear.

We do not have to simply imagine these things, Friends. We were created to experience and enjoy these great freedoms. Sin, Satan and selfishness rob us of those blessings, but when we return to our Father God, He redeems our lives and restores these freedoms and many more.

It is the truth that sets us free; and we come to the Father through Jesus, who embodies “the truth.”

True freedom is in Christ, and we are not to live in bondage to sin. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)

Yes, we celebrate America’s Independence and all our freedoms on July 4th; but the truth is … it is not “only in America” that we experience these great freedoms. We enjoy the best blessings of freedom when our citizenship is in heaven, our true home.

 

* Photo, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic; Wikimedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FDR_Memorial_wall.jpg; original photographer unknown.

Invest in Forever

12 Nov

AngryBoy_BrokenToy“By the time you talk your child into writing a thank you note for a birthday gift, it’s already broken!” ~ Bruce Lansky, humorist and poet

Boy, isn’t that the truth. My (Dawn’s) boys’ toys used to break, and then they’d get creative and play with the boxes the toys came in! So I used to call the real toys “Temporary Toys.”

Everything in this life is temporary: health, success, work, sunrise/sunset, good times/bad times, pain, celebrations, emotions, relationships, etc.

As Gaither vocal Band member Mark Lowry points out in his comedy  routine concerning Luke 2:1 (at Christmas), everything “comes to pass.” Nothing lasts forever ~ well, almost nothing. Two things do endure and go into eternity:  the souls of people and the truth of God’s Word. With that in mind, the wise person will invest in things that last.

Matthew 6:19-21 tells us to store up “treasures” that won’t fade away or crumble. Investing in eternity isn’t just about using money for godly projects, although that is good stewardship. We should serve God as faithfully as we can with our time, finances, skills, education, abilities, family, etc. We should share the Gospel, to try to take as many people with us to heaven as possible! Jesus is coming, and the Bride of Christ must make herself ready!

Charles Orr wrote, “Having the heart in heaven is the secret of living heavenly.” Therefore, we must guard our hearts (Prov. 4:23). To be truly alive is to Always Live In Light of Eternity, as our friend Ken Nichols says.

Make living for eternity an adventure ~ invest in forever! Think about storing up treasure, and send some on ahead. Be intentional. How will you make a lasting difference, otherwise?

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